Life Can Be Random

It’s odd how objects can become valuable to you.  My most valuable possession is a worthless coin. One day we were driving through dusty cattle land in Uganda, and my father stopped near a ditch on the side of the road. He opened up the Land Rover door, picked up a coin from the side of the road, and gave me this thick coin with two gazelles holding up a shield on it. It was heavy and nice to hold. It read “Bank of Uganda” on the front.

At the time, I only saw my dad for about two months out of the year so receiving this gift from him made it valuable to me. Furthermore, my father grew up in The Democratic Republic of Congo. My grandmother and grandfather dedicated their lives to developing the DRC through charity work. My father spent most of my childhood in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania trying to develop clean water infrastructure with the U.N.

The coin reminds me of my family’s ties with the continent and why I didn’t get to see my father for all those years. I once mentioned the coin to someone (who I no longer talk to) and they told me “you’re that white kid whose family loves to say that he went to Africa because it makes them feel good.” The coin reminds me that that kid was wrong. It reminds me of the hard work that my father and grandfather did to get me and so many others where they are. This coin gets me to work harder and do better.

How odd it is that a random coin worth less than 10 percent of a dollar was picked up by a random U.N. worker and given to his son, and now has a school newspaper article written about it?